Deep divisions of language, faith, and politics lead to tension and violence. Cameroon divides between French and English regions. It also divides between Christian, Muslim, and traditional religions, and between those who hold political power and the opposition. The increasing activity of Islamist groups in the north further threatens peace. Pray for God to raise up reconcilers and peacemakers in this divided land.
Deep divisions of language, politics and faith are all potential flashpoints of tension and violence. Cameroon is divided between French and English regions, between Christian, Muslim and traditional religions, between government cronies and increasingly frustrated opposition. Pray for God to raise up reconcilers and peacemakers in this divided land.
The spiritual poverty of the churches is the country's greatest tragedy. Nominal Christianity is a bigger problem in Cameroon than in most of Africa. The early pioneer work of Catholics, Presbyterians, Lutherans and Baptists was damaged by compromise and the arrival of liberation theology. Tribalism, pagan practices, alcoholism and low moral standards are endemic. Most in these churches (Council of Protestant Churches of Cameroon) have little concern for the unreached of the north, and they are only now starting to have a prophetic voice to address the major ills of society. Pray for deep repentance, lasting deliverance and true revival, and pray for a restoration of Bible reading, preaching and holiness among Christians.
Evangelicals, especially Pentecostals, have grown rapidly in the last 20 years, having had a late start due to the hostility of older denominations. A number of these groups have been started by other African evangelists - in particular Nigerians - rather than by Westerners. Pray for:
- Greater spiritual unity and cooperation between charismatic and non-charismatic groups. Many older denominations see these younger churches as divisive, fragmented upstarts with poor theology and an unhealthy fixation on signs, wonders and money.
- More effective discipling in the churches. The growth of recent years and the focus on numbers of converts rather than on quality of disciples have caused a lack of trained leaders and spiritual growth. Pray for the formation of a genuinely evangelical association of churches in Cameroon that will assist with this challenge.
- Pastors and leaders of great integrity and spirituality. Many of these churches lack accountability structures, and their leaders are often accused of being charlatans seeking wealth by manipulating the faithful. Pray that those with pure motives and hearts may see their churches grow, while the wolves in sheep's clothing may be exposed as fakes.
- Biblical engagement across all spheres of society. The newer churches deliberately avoid being involved in issues of politics, justice, education etc., concentrating solely on spiritual and material blessings for their members. Pray for the maturation of these groups such that they might have a holistic vision and profound impact on the nation.
Pray for lay training programmes that will introduce the Bible to Christians. For many, the pastor's sermon is the extent of their interaction with Scripture. There are increasing numbers of modular-training programmes, aimed at poorer, bi-vocational pastors and church members. Pray also for the two Christian universities that aim to provide quality academic education within the framework of a Christian worldview.
The missionary force - the largest groups are YWAM, Norwegian Lutheran Mission, Cru, CEF, LBT, North American Baptist Conference and Gospel Fellowship Association. Korean agencies represent many additional workers. Pioneer missionaries are especially needed for Bible translation ministry and to reach Muslim and northern animist peoples. Evangelical missionaries could help bring new life and vigour to the more nominal churches - but this requires skill and gifting of a high order.
Bible translation for Cameroon's 278 languages is an overwhelming task. The lack of indigenous, heart-language Scriptures is one of the contributory causes of spiritual poverty in the churches. Only 10 languages have a complete Bible, and fewer than 100 have any Scripture portion at all. Pray for:
- Existing translation and literacy projects. Thirteen NT translations were completed from 2003 to 2009. CABTAL (Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy), SIL and several other agencies have invested much in these. Cameroon is SIL's largest African involvement. The faithful work of Bible translation is bearing fruit in church life. Literacy projects are just as vital as translation projects, since 40% of the population is still functionally illiterate. This is an area of great potential convergence of Christian agencies, government bodies and NGOs.
- Surveys are needed to identify the translation needs of all Cameroon's languages; at least 59 are already identified as warranting a Bible translation project.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.